2019 BMW i3 gets a 42 kWh battery

2019 BMW i3 gets a 42 kWh battery
2019 BMW i3 with 42,2 kWh battery

Now it’s official. The 2019 model year of the BMW i3 finally gets the long-awaited 120 Ah battery cells from Samsung SDI. The 120 Ah battery cells give the battery pack a total capacity of 42,2 kWh (96 x 120 Ah x 3,667 V).


This is the second battery capacity upgrade that the BMW i3 gets since its launch.

  • Original battery cells: 60 Ah – EPA range of 81 miles (130 km)
  • First upgrade (2017): 94 Ah – EPA range of 115 miles (185 km)
  • Second upgrade (2018): 120 Ah – EPA range of 153 miles (246 km)


In Europe it’ll be advertised with a 260 km (161 miles) range, which BMW considers to be realistic. However, the WLTP range is more optimistic and will be 285-310 km.

The sportier version (BMW i3s) and the extended range version (REX) will also get the new battery cells.

Production begins in November 2018.


This is probably the last battery capacity upgrade that the BMW i3 gets before a major facelift or being completely replaced by a new model.



More info:



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1 year ago

Baby steps, baby steps

1 year ago

My estimation provided since several month for the EPA range was correct at 1km :

1 year ago
Reply to  Chris.

Your table is impressive. Great work.

1 year ago

Is it only 36kWh useable from that chart?

Why are they all quoting non useable capacity except for Hyundai/Kia who quote useable capacity

1 year ago

36kWh was my assumption based on the DoD of the previous version but it’s seems that the usable battery will be 39.7kWh (~90% of DoD).
An update of the chart is planned on next days after the Paris Motor Show.

For your questions it’s also a marketing strategy
Mercedes communicate on usable battery (B class with 28kWh) even if the total capacity is 36kWh.

1 year ago

Any idea on weight comparable to previous battery packs?

I would like to see a reduced pack size be maintained a cheaper lighter REX version.

1 year ago

Go bmw go… 2 years after Zoe real 41kwh

1 year ago

REX dropped from Europe, guess its emissions aren’t good enough post diesel gate?

1 year ago

To see if a car has a reliable range I’ve come up with a calculation. Take the epa range and divide it by the nedc range. The closer you come to 1 the better it is. Example:
Tesla model s 60: 400km nedc, 334 km epa -> 0,835
BMW i3 120Ah: 422km nedc (est), 246 km epa -> 0,58

To get realistic fast highway driving you multiply the factor above with the EPA range of the car.

The i3 is one of the worst cars when it comes to range. I drove the 33kwh Bev 110 km and I started at 120 km/h but had to lower the speed to 90 km/h in order to make it there…

1 year ago

You have to remember the BMW i3 was designed as a “City Car”. When I first got my 2015 model year, I was lucky to get 3 miles/kWh.(4.8 km/kWh), and now get over 4.1 miles/kWh (6.6 km/kWh). As a city car or second vehicle, it is simply outstanding. Under 60mph/100km/h, the BMW is simple a great vehicle. The BMW i3 is tolerable and inefficient at highway speeds, especially when driving in excess of 60mph/100km/h. This is sad as we regularly drive at 80mph/130km/h in this area of the country. If you know and understand your limitations, and remember what it was designed for, it’s an awesome car. I got the REx as I knew the cold Colorado winters would significantly degrade the range of the car, especially when using the cabin heater, seat heater, and defrosters. For my use, 50 miles per day round trip (80km) commute to and from work, the car works for our family, even in the winter. We use it for almost all other local trips and have significantly reduced our driving in our other vehicle, a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which is now only used for round trips exceeding 120 miles. We were very hesitant and scared of the limited range, but have learned that it is not the challenge we thought it would be. Now, everyone in the family knows which vehicle we are taking simply based on our destination…if is closer than 60 miles/100km, it’s the BMW i3. If it’s more, it’s likely the Highlander. If it’s in the city, the BMW i3, if it’s to another city on the highway, it’s the Highlander. It took our family just a couple of months to understand our needs, and the BMW i3 is working great for us. Plus, if you are willing to buy a two year old one, coming off lease, they sell for about 1/2 of MSRP, which in my opinion, is a fantastic deal (a $55K car, two years old with 15,000 miles can be found for under $27K).

1 year ago

Pedro and others, can you please educate me on something. As you know, only Tesla uses NCA chemistry, all others use NMC. Does current state of the art NCA cells have more energy density than NMC (622 or 811)? If so, how much more? And does that mean Tesla cars have not only more range but they also have faster acceleration? (Please be specific, use certain electrical units with your explanation). Thank you.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Hi Jon. I’ll write an extensive article about that topic. With examples of current best cells (cylindrical, pouch and prismatic). Nonetheless I’ll tell you right now, that there already exist prismatic cells with energy density of 710 Wh/L, which is very close to the best cylindrical cells.

6 months ago

Could this new battery pack be installed in a older model car such as 2015 BMW i3 as replacement?

6 months ago
Reply to  Kplusc

Yes, but BMW is more interested in selling new cars than upgrading current ones.